For this years ‘winter trip’ we decided to explore two different regions of Costa Rica: Guanacaste and Manuel Antonio. Over the next few weeks I will be posting all sorts of tips, restaurant reviews, cool things to do in Costa Rica, the best surf spots and more! To kick things off, let’s start with where to stay in Guanecastse. First off, getting there is easy, fly into Liberia airport and then it is an hour and a half drive away. The Four Seasons at Peninsula Papagayo is incredible, I mean ‘honeymoon amazing’ hotel. The views and property are truly breathtaking, hosting one of the top 50 golf courses in the world, overlooking the water no less was stunning (more about the golf to come). There are 4 pools all of which are quite large, a jacuzzi in its own waterfall cove and beaches on both sides of the property, one with a surf shack, beach tennis and lots of hermit crabs (that scurry along the beach like moving rocks) the other with more lounge chairs and better sun. During the day the staff was fantastic, even handing out mini picoles and frozen coffee treats.
The rooms are nice and spacious, have a private enclosed sitting area, comfortable king sized bed, large bathtub that has window into main room (same style as the Unique) which means you can watch TV while bathing and the shower has window. On our second night we had an unexpected visitor….
There are 5 restaurants, all of which have outdoor dining areas. 1.Sol y Samba the Latin inspired rotisserie and fish house. There is a wide selection of ceviche but my favorite was the ‘Thai inspired’ with peanuts and the quinoa balls were fantastic. There is live music every night so you can always go for sunset, tapas and cocktails. 3 The main restaurant serves breakfast daily with a buffet or an a la cart option. The omelets are great but it’s a bit pricey. For lunch we dined at our lounge chairs by the pool,favorite dishes of our stay: the burger, grilled mahimahi sandwich and quesadilla. 2. Cena Sociale: Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar which specializes in modern italian cuisine with the freshest local and organic ingredients. This innovative ‘tapas style’ italian food was our best meal of the entire trip! Start with the truffle beef tartar and the burratta caprese salad, both perfectly delicious and refreshing. For the main dish we shared the three meat ragu pasta dish, seriously out of this in your amazing and the short ribs which melted in your mouth. For dessert their homemade gelato is a must! They make 18 of their own flavors, my personal favorites: hazelnut and chocolate peanut butter. Caracol Steakhouse and CT Burger both located at the Golf Club.
Make sure you spend a day at the The Beach Club, an absolute beautiful hidden gem. When you arrive it looks more like you are in Fiji with a black pool that has a bridge leading to a island of lounge chairs on it, lined with infinity pools you have the perfect view of the beach which is lined with hammocks, day beds and comfy chairs. There is a separate 3 lane lap pool and one of the largest jacuzzis I have ever been in (it was fabulous). There are 3 restaurants at the Beach Club: a ‘sports bar that has tv’s and a pool table, a lunch restaurant (or eat on your lounge chair) which served up one of the best Chinese chicken salads and chicken hummus sandwiches I’ve had in a long time. You need a reservation for the dinner restaurant which serves contemporary fair. The beach provides the most perfect view for sunset so definitely head over to the beach club around 5pm and grab a cocktail! FYI the beach club also offers a smaller spa for massages and a gym for those of you who want to get a quick work out in.
Speaking of a spa and gym..a trip to the Four Seasons isn’t complete with out visiting their super swanky spa with a variety of treatments, dry sauna, rain showers, full makeup bar, cold plunge pool and super hot jacuzzi on a balcony set with the stunning backdrop of panoramic views. Random – they have the best spa robes I’ve ever wrapped myself in, I wish they gave you these in the rooms (don’t worry you still get nice lightweight waffle robes and yes I realize I sound like a brat, but the spa robes seriously rocked). As for the gym, it has a ton of treadmills bikes, stepper/elliptical mix, weights and a great view.
If you are a golfer you will love this place! The Golf Course is one of the top 50 golf courses in the world and let me tell you it is absolutely stunning! If you aren’t up for the course head over to the driving range which costs $20/pp for clubs, next to it is a small mini golf area which is actually a bit tough! There are also 4 tennis courts. Definitely take a golf cart and explore the property, it is a fun, beautiful ride where you will encounter lots of monkeys and iguanas.
Overall there really is nothing like The Four Seasons Peninsula Papagayo, it is well worth the trip..as for the negative.. They nickel and dime you ie grabbing a muffin for our drive on our last day cost $6, it was good but not that good and getting a transfer to a restaurant (that was a 10 min drive) costs $60, there were others, so go in knowing this will not be a cheap vacation but it definitely is worth it!